I like to pull out the phrase “self-audit” once in a while. We all get so busy and are getting so much done and the achievements, presumably, are adding up. And yes, we should allow ourselves a chance to step back and take pride in whatever our latest accomplishment is. Time should be made to look back on the most recent highlight, but this isn’t one of the many articles that I’m sure you’ve read, encouraging us all to do exactly that.
Think about being in that spot, though, and moving on to the next project. You have your To Do list, but somewhere in that transition period you silently ask yourself if anyone is even noticing what you’re doing. Sure, there are likes and comments on social media posts, but secretly you talk yourself into those being like cars in a drive-thru instead of stopping to sit and take it all in.
If only you could take a more active role in touting these achievements of yours.
THE LIGHT BULB
This is about the point in time when you start thinking of getting interviewed. You decide that this is where you have some control and can get the word out to a larger audience above and beyond your social media following.
Interviews, you conclude, will help spread the word about you and your talent to more and more people who might care, someone who can make a difference – hopefully, a decision-maker that is going to contact you for your next opportunity.
This idea of getting yourself interviewed starts to really feel good, like that new pair of pants that seems almost custom tailored to fit you.
THE DIMMER SWITCH
Of course, that same voice that whispered about the social media engagement wants to have a say. So next you wrestle with the question of, am I at the point in my career where I can pursue media interviews?
While you do need to be honest with yourself, this is an appropriate point to stop and do a self-audit.
Don’t let that voice in your head tell you to move on to something else instead. Consider the following and decide if it is, in fact, time to start looking at TV, radio, podcast, and other media opportunities where you can get interviewed, or, if you’re not quite there yet (in which case you should target what’s needed to get you there).
There might be a need to have an uninterested third party give you an unbiased opinion, which is why people in the entertainment business hire someone like me to pitch for them. Of course you’re going to be proud of yourself and what you’ve achieved so far, but a question that needs to be answered – honestly – right away is, have you done enough?
For example, on my weekly “Now Hear This Entertainment” podcast I interview guests who are having success in entertainment and the episodes usually come out at about 45, 50, 55 minutes. So, if I’m looking at someone as a potential interviewee, if all he/she has done is put out one song, that’s not going to work. We can’t do a full-length feature interview all about that artist’s debut single. If you’re an actor/actress and did background work on a TV show one time, how much could someone really ask you?
To help see this better, change roles. Put yourself in the position of the person who would be interviewing you. They are going to be looking for some kind of hook. I like to point to the example of watching the local TV news and right before they go to break hearing the anchor do a tease that’s going to make you stick around through the commercials. You want to hear that story when they come back.
So, what is your story? If you think they are going to be drawn in by you telling them that you first started on the stage when you were three years old – yawn – this might be a hint that you haven’t crafted your story yet. “I’ve been in a few different things” isn’t your story. Come up with a hook that the interviewer is going to respond to with, “Tell me more.” Now you’ve got them sold.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE?
It’s not a coincidence when you see an actor/actress on Jimmy Kimmel and after the happy talk about some crazy incident at their family get-together, they talk about a new film or TV show that they’re in. The overwhelming majority of the time, the guest on my weekly podcast has a new project of some kind that we end up talking about.
So, in your case, what are you promoting? If it’s something recent that has come out, terrific. If you think you’re just going to talk about a whole bunch of projects you’ve been a part of over the years, they don’t want that. All that information is on IMDb or similar sites/apps. It’s old news, in other words.
START OVER AGAIN
Look back at your list that you started when I challenged you to consider, “Have I done enough?” Marry this exercise with seeing how long the interviews that you’d like to get would be. “Do I have enough to talk about” is different because you could end up on a show like mine where it’s common for a guest to be asked for advice for newbies and/or others in the industry. Now you’re not rattling off a list of projects you’re working on or what was just released that you were a part of, so draw upon the part of your brain where the wisdom is and determine if you have enough to talk about.
Remember that people love stories in the sense that you could have something very entertaining to share about a day or a week leading up to the actual project; some mishap, personal challenge, or other conflict that makes for great content. “My car broke down on the way to the studio” isn’t nearly as entertaining as “I went in my garage, got in my car, and it wouldn’t start. As it is, I was already running probably ten minutes late. I called roadside assistance and they said it would be 35 minutes before someone could get to my house! I tried getting a friend to help, but they were sick as a dog. So, I figured I’d have to do rideshare just to make sure I got there period, no matter how late I was going to be. So, doesn’t the driver first pull up to the wrong house and is beeping the horn in the driveway three doors down, but then they realize the mistake, only to throw it in reverse to come over to my house, and back up into a parked car?! Let’s just say that I was ready to show up at the studio with a bag over my head, I was so embarrassed.”
WHY SHOULD WE INTERVIEW YOU, THOUGH?
I remember a point in my career when I’d relocated, a thousand miles away, and was just looking to get a job so I could get a steady paycheck coming in. I was interviewing for a position that I’d gotten called for and at one point the HR person asked me, “But why do you want to work here, though?” (Needless to say, I had to hold back the “Because I need a job” answer.)
In sales they call it your unique selling proposition (USP). What is yours? What makes you different from everyone else that’s doing what you do? Get yourself a solid USP and you’ll be much more confident that you have a great reason why someone should interview you instead of the guy or gal who just contacted them before you did.
If a baker said, “People should be interviewing me because I make great cookies and sales are really good,” then bring back that yawn from “I started on the stage when I was three years old.” But when the next baker says, “My cookies are made by hand, not by machine, cut into shapes with cutters that we have designed and created ourselves – they’re not bought online or at a store – and we are the only bakery that fully decorates both sides of the cookie,” then you’re seeing a USP come together.
WHERE’S THIS GOING?
Don’t talk yourself out of being ready for an interview because you’re too nervous about it, and, don’t cast the idea aside because you’re not even sure why you should want to get interviewed anyway. There are lots of benefits to going through these opportunities when you’re ready for them.
We’re all looking for content for our social media posts. Check. You do need to get the reps, so if the above self-audit turned up that you’re ready to pursue interviews, get out there and get those reps. You should also have a section of your website where you’ll post all the interviews that you’ve been the subject of. And, it should go without saying, you never know who might be watching, listening, or reading. (BONUS – For those that have something to sell, now you’ve been given a platform to talk about it and where people can buy it, and it didn’t cost you a penny.)
Bruce Wawrzyniak runs Now Hear This, a management and promotion agency with clients across the U.S., from Hollywood to Las Vegas to Tampa and points in between. He is also a national speaker and the host of the weekly, “Now Hear This Entertainment” podcast, which has gotten listeners from over 150 countries around the world. He is also the author of a four-volume eBook series that provides tips for entertainers for on and off the stage. Learn more at www.NowHearThis.biz and find links there for him and his company on social media, as well as for platforms for listening to the podcast. He, of course, is here on Stage 32 as well.
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